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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Henin-Hardenne cruises into final
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Justine Henin-Hardenne moved a step closer to a second French Open title with a comfortable victory over Nadia Petrova in the semi-finals.

The Belgian was never at her best in a 6-2 6-3 win, committing 23 errors, but Petrova could not take advantage.

Henin-Hardenne, the 2003 champion, needed little over an hour to extend her winning streak to 23 matches.

She will face crowd favourite Mary Pierce in Saturday's final after the Frenchwoman beat Elena Likhovtseva.

Henin-Hardenne is favourite to take the title after her remarkable comeback from injury and illness.

The 23-year-old returned after a seven-month lay-off in March since when she has lost just one match.

"It's amazing to reach the final after what's happened to me over the last few months," said the 2003 champion.

I'm getting a bit tired but I keep winning and that's a good feeling
Justine Henin-Hardenne

"If I ever play only one more Grand Slam final in my career, I would wish it to be here because this is a special place for me with lots of memories."

Petrova appeared nervous despite appearing in her second French Open semi-final, but she later gave credit to her opponent.

"She kept me in trouble all the time. It was one of those days where everything worked in her favour," she said.

"Justine can win the title because of the form she's in.

"Mary might give her a problem because she will have the home crowd behind her but I can't see anyone winning the title except Justine."

However, Henin-Hardenne admitted she was struggling with fatigue.

"I'm getting a bit tired but I keep winning and that's a good feeling," she said.

She is also still bothered by a lingering back injury which affects her serve.

She double-faulted to lose her first service game against Petrova, then delivered two more on set point before closing out the first set.

Petrova briefly rallied to break back in the second set and then take a 2-1 lead but she failed to find inspiration and a forehand error on match point handed Henin-Hardenne an easy win.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Henin-Hardenne v Petrova


News conference: Justine Henin-Hardenne



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